Coffee Rubbed Steak

My view on steak is simple: there is good and there is too damn good. This dish is TOO DAMN GOOD!

I was very hesitant to try cooking steak with coffee. But man I’m so glad I did! The smokey bark and flavored crust you get from this recipe is out of this world.

Here’s how to whip it up:

rib-eye steak (king of all cuts)
3 tbs ground coffee
A bunch of black pepper
A bunch of kosher salt
Some chili powder (I use an Ethiopian red pepper. It’s the best!)
Some brown sugar (you’re not making a cookie so please don’t use a lot)


  1. mix all the spices together and coat the steak really well. Then heat up a cast iron skillet (because all other pans suck) and add a little oil. Sear the meat on high heat for three minutes per side.
  2. Add butter and crushed whole gloves of garlic and begin basting the steak with the garlic flavored melted butter (yes I did use butter twice in a sentence. Go ahead, judge me.) Do that for about a minute on each side.
  3. Alright can we address the elephant in the room now? Steak doneness. Here’s the deal, habibi: there is only one way to eat steak and that is medium rare. Just feel the steak with your fingers and make sure it’s soft and not rock hard. No rocket-science here people. If you don’t see red when you cut the steak, you burned it.
  4.  Take that beautiful thing out of your skillet and let it rest for a bit. Gordon Ramsay does it and SO SHOULD YOU!
  5. Serve with your favorite veggies on the side. In this dish I made some sauteed potatoes and asparagus which I cooked in the steak’s butter multi-goodness that was left in the pan.

That’s all habibis. Give it a try and let me know how it is!

The Story of a Habibi in America

My name is Taif
Taif Jany in Paris, France.

My name is Taif (like Knife but with a T) and I’m just a habibi who lives in the United States with a big appetite.

I was born and raised in Baghdad. When I was 16 years old my father was kidnapped on his way home from work. I was forced to flee Iraq with my remaining family and seek refuge in Damascus, Syria. We’ve never heard a thing about dad.

After spending about two years in Syria, I came to the United  States as a student. I went to school at Union College in Schenectady, NY and moved to Washington, D.C. right after graduation.

Being alone in America, away from my family and my favorite falafel stands, I was  forced to teach myself how to cook. This is mostly because I really missed my mom’s homemade food, but also I started craving Iraqi food in general. When it comes to food, Iraq (in my humble opinion) is the hub of food in Western Asia (YES, IRAQ IS IN ASIA! Bet you didn’t know that.) From world-famous sumac kebabs and lamb stews, to dolma and masgoof (grilled fish), Iraq is where it’s at!

That being said, I quickly learned that America is a place of abundance in many ways, and food ingredients is no exception. In the United States, I can access many items that we don’t have in Iraq. One in particular has forever changed my life. Let me tell you all about it.

During my very first day of school at Union College, brand new to the United States I went to the dining hall for breakfast with few folks I met during orientation. I was blown away by the amount and variety of food options they had there. However, only one food item stood out to me the most. It was a tray full of crispy red strips of meat. It looked so delicious I didn’t even bother asking what it was. My friends were also very insisting that I should give it a try. After I took the first bite, my friends were like “oh how do you like pork?” and I responded “this is the best thing ever what is it?” And that’s how I learned about BACON!

Very quickly, I was also brainwashed by America’s steak culture. If you ask any of my friends what I love to eat at any day and anytime, they would say steak. I don’t care what cut or shape it is, grilled, seared, or broiled, I love STEAK.

Infusing Iraqi flavors into America’s diverse food options makes cooking a very exciting hobby for me. I see it as a vehicle to bridge our cultures and end decades of misinformation. I firmly believe that Iraqis and Americans can benefit so much by learning about one another. Heck, we have so much in common: we are good looking, we are fun, and we love food.

My dad always loved the people of America and I now see why. His loss did not go in vain. It helped me adapt to and appreciate the people who are around me, no matter where I am.

I understand that not everybody here can relate to me being an Iraqi, and not everyone loves to cook or experiment different cuisines. However, I  know that food is the best way to get to know people and learn about their different backgrounds and cultures. Let’s eat!